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Watch: Miss Philippines Venus Raj at Miss Universe

Get to know Venus Raj

Maria Venus Raj was born in Doha, Qatar to an Indian father and a Filipino mother, the youngest of five children. As an infant, Raj was taken by her mother to Bato, Camarines Sur in the Bicolandia, and was registered under perjury by her aunt as a Philippine-born child. Raj grew up with her mother, a former tenant farmer and dressmaker.

For the first two decades of her life, Raj lived in a nipa hut made of wood, bamboo and anahaw leaves, with no electricity, in the middle of a sprawling rice field. She allegedly used rice paddy dikes for her early training, where she eventually developed her distinctive walk.

Raj started out by joining local beauty pageants, as well as oratorical contests at San Vicente High School, where her English teacher served as her coach. Using the prize money won in major contests, she then bought land on an installment basis for her mother as a means of improving their livelihood. -- Wikipedia


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